Hitting the campaign trail for any politician is always a busy and frantic venture.
And if you’re running to be re-elected to the Governor’s seat for the state of Florida with an election less than three months away, deciding where to go and who to shake hands with can be a big decision.
So when Florida Governor Rick Scott and his extensive entourage were busy on their whistle-stop tour last week, our own little town of Medley, or as Medley Chamber of Commerce President Juan Rubi likes to call it, “a little rumor,” was front and center.
With Medley Mayor Roberto Martell serving as the official host, Scott arrived on Thursday morning, Aug. 21 at La Cosecha Restaurant, an Argentianan Steakhouse at 6981 NW 74th St., and stayed and visited for more than an hour.
Along with Scott was a who’s who of politicians, including Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, State Senator Rene Garcia, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez, and State House of Representatives Rep. (District 103) Manny Diaz.
“The governor coming to our town is incredible, the first time it’s ever happened,” said Martell. “He has done a lot of things not only for the Town of Medley but for the entire state of Florida as well, and he’s doing a wonderful job and should be elected for another four years because he cares about people and the infrastructure of our cities.”
Upon his arrival, Scott enjoyed a little bite, compliments of La Cosecha owner and executive chef Rosana Pineiro, before making the rounds and chatting with a few of the La Cosecha patrons.
“It’s just wonderful to be here in the Town of Medley and with Mayor Martell, who has done a tremendous job since taking office,” said Scott. “I didn’t realize it but I guess I’m the first sitting Governor to ever visit Medley, so that makes this visit that much more satisfying. A wonderful, hard-working community and this restaurant is outstanding and a perfect example of the importance of small businesses building up their product and finding ways to not only survive but prosper.”
Scott’s stop was also heavily attended by the local South Florida media, both electronic and print, including Channel 10 political analyst Michael Putney.
“I grew up in a very poor family. My mother told me that if I worked hard and studied hard, I could do anything,” Scott said. “My first business was a small donut shop and small businesses are the backbone of our state. That’s where most of the jobs are and Medley will continue to grow.”
It actually was Scott’s second visit to the River Cities area. Last August he made a trip to the Boeing Flight Services building in Virginia Gardens to participate in the unveiling of new flight simulators.
“We are in a small town, but we are a great industrial town and I think it’s tremendous that Governor Scott recognizes this,” said Medley Councilman Edgar Ayala. “And to see him take the time to stop here today as part of his campaign trail makes us feel great about our town. We’re very proud to have him here.”
For Manny Diaz, it was a proud moment because not only has he excelled in the world of politics, but he is a graduate of Miami Springs High School and a pitcher for the baseball team back in the mid-’90s.
“I love it. I grew up around here, went to school at Springs and it’s great to see this area highlighted in the middle of a gubernatorial campaign,” said Diaz. “I think this is such a great event for Medley. A lot of people don’t know, people think of Medley as a small town with very few residents but over 45,000 employees come to work here every day and the industries that exist in the Town of Medley are an economic engine for Miami-Dade County and so I think Mayor Martell has done a great job in continuing to push that and raise that kind of awareness and the visit by the Governor is the recognition of how much of a big deal Medley has become.”
Rubi has worked passionately since taking over as Chamber president a year ago to, in his words, no longer make Medley a rumor.
“Basically this is a historical moment for the town and as I’ve said many times, Medley is like a little rumor and pretty soon it won’t be a rumor any longer,” said Rubi. “We do need the goverment to help us with the infrastructure, roads, transportation, etc., as that is 98 percent of our daily life and we need to get that fixed. We need to help this infrastructure to be able to accept what’s hopefully going to be coming in to the Port of Miami. With 45,000 employees coming here every day, we’d like to think that number might double in the coming years and an event like today certainly is another stepping stone towards that goal.”
Ninety minutes after he had arrived, Scott and company were back on the road, headed off to their next stop. And off in a corner stood Piniero, left with the daunting task of the cleanup, which she was happy to do.
“I’m so happy and honored that the Governor chose our restaurant to visit today,” said Pineiro. This was very exciting and we offered him a sample of our meats, which is the main plate at our restaurant, and I think he really enjoyed it.”